Heyyyyyy… Remember when I made a New Year’s Resolution to write up at least one blog post per week and then didn’t put one up in the first week after said resolution was made?? Classic! 😛
At any rate, this past Sunday night was the Golden Globes ceremony. I don’t put much stock into awards shows, and Sunday’s fare was pretty boring, in my opinion. But I did get super excited when Rachel Bloom won Best Actress in a Television Series Musical/Comedy for her work on The CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend!
Crazy-Ex Girlfriend is a strange little show that seems to have flown underneath most people’s radars since its debut last fall. Bloom –who co-created the show along with The Devil Wears Prada writer, Aline Brosh McKenna — stars as Rebecca Bunch, a New York lawyer who struggles with depression and a sense of unfulfillment in life despite her successful career. When she randomly runs into an old childhood sweetheart named Josh Chan (played by Vincent Rodriguez III), she impulsively decides to move to his hometown of West Covina, California. …But not because Josh lives there! It’s totally just a coincidence. Yeah…
Oh, did I mention that Crazy Ex-Girlfriend was a musical? While the first song of the pilot episode (see above) is more or less in the style of a Broadway show tune, the series utilizes a wide range of genres in its musical numbers. There have been Bollywood numbers, riffs on Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj, country songs, an homage to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers… In this respect, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend feels more like Flight of the Conchords than a standard musical.
Many early critics overlooked the show due to its seemingly problematic title, when in fact, Bloom and McKenna purposefully chose it as a way to subvert the phrase and explore what it truly means. While Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is labeled a comedy, it stands alongside contemporaries such as BoJack Horseman or You’re the Worst in the way it explores darker, more serious themes like depression and anxiety. In fact, most of the show’s songs seem to take place in Rebecca’s damaged psyche as she tries to make sense of her life and the world around her.
The fact of the matter is Rebecca is flawed and broken. There are moments in the show where I find myself actively rooting against her schemes, cursing her terrible choices, or wishing she would snap out of her delusions to see what’s in front of her (Santino Fontana as Greg ❤ ). As main characters go, Rebecca Bunch does not always come off as that lovable. Instead, she is incredibly relatable, for better or for worse.
On a final, personal note, I want to add how amazing it is that Rebecca’s main love interest is a Filipino-American. Asian men are rarely depicted as romantic leads, so it’s always great to see that. On the whole, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend does a good job of showing Southern California’s diversity. As a Filipino-American myself, the Thanksgiving episode where Rebecca visits Josh’s family, in particular, was a delight. (The main character of a network television show was making/talking about dinuguan!!) To most people, this may not seem like a big deal, but representation is important, and seeing the Chan fam-bam on-screen made me grin with glee.
(On a related note, Lea Salonga will be appearing on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend‘s season finale. As a Filipino-American who grew up listening to Broadway musicals and watching 90’s Disney movies, all I can say is squeee! 😀 )
Now, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend definitely isn’t a show for everyone. But if you enjoy musical parodies or dramedies that aren’t afraid to explore darker themes, I definitely recommend you check it out. It can be incredibly weird and silly, but also clever and biting in its analysis of the human condition. Plus, the songs are suuuper catchy!
In a sea of procedurals and cookie-cutter sitcoms, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a rarity — one that I have enjoyed greatly thus far! The first season was extended to a total of 18 episodes and will return from its winter break on January 25th. Hopefully Rachel Bloom’s Golden Globes win will help to bring in more viewers as well. I, for one, can’t wait to see what lies ahead for Rebecca and the others out in 🎶West Covinaaaaa, Califooooorniaaaa! 🎶
Disclaimer: All images and videos shown belong to CBS Television and The CW, the use of which have not been specifically authorized by the copyright owners. This blog post is for non-commercial criticism and comment purposes only. I believe that this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Law.